Eurasian Union 'not dependent on Russian elections'

By Kulpash Konyrova

The project of the creation of the Eurasian Union does not depend on the outcome of the upcoming presidential elections in Russia to be held on 4 March, Russian experts said during discussions within the framework of the video link Astana – Moscow on the topic 'The Future of the Eurasian project through the perspective of Russian elections'.

Besides, they are of opinion that neither Ukraine nor Kyrgyzstan should be expected in this union in the coming years.

“Everyone says that Eurasian Union is not the empire and the revival of the Soviet Union. In this case, what exactly should be the Eurasian Union, how Kazakhstan sees the Union?” asked Alexey Vlasov, the director of information-analytical centre for the study of socio-political processes in the post-Soviet area of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, at the opening of the discussion.

According to him, following the article by current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on the Eurasian Union, there are fears in Russian society that this idea has an element of the election campaign.

The CEO of the political conjuncture Sergei Mikheyev expressed an opposite opinion, namely that it is primitive to consider the Eurasian project within the election campaign in Russia.

"Today, in the context of globalisation, the main issue for many countries is the question of survival. State can become an appendage to the development of a stronger state or become a center of development. In this situation, for member states of former USSR, there is a chance to become a center of economic and geopolitical influence in Eurasia," said Mikheyev.

In his opinion, the Eurasian project has no relation to specific individuals, and therefore cannot depend on the outcome of the forthcoming presidential elections in Russia.

People's Democratic Party spokesman Nur Otan of Kazakhstan, Bolat Baikadamov, said that the Russian presidential election and regional integration should be considered separately. "We are destined to unite by virtue of the historical, economic and political reasons. Neighbouring countries must now develop harmoniously in their own interest. These are global trends today."

According to opinion poll, 65-70% of Kazakhs said that they are in favour of the Eurasian Union. Baikadamov said that the Eurasian Union should incorporate the best of what was produced during the Union and all that is best in the European Union.

Experts believe that the process of joining the Eurasian Union in three countries - Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan - should begin by holding referendums and gthat it isimportant that it should be a collective decision.

As for the entry of Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan in the Eurasian Union, then this should not be expected in the near future, Kazakhstan and Russia, experts say. "Kiev does not want to choose either the EU or Eurasian Union.

"To Kiev, it is advantageous to be with anyone to get the preferences from both sides. The same can be seen in politics in Kyrgyzstan: manoeuvring between China, Russia and Kazakhstan," Vlasov said. He added that so far, except for Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia, no one from the former Soviet Union will enter the Eurasian Union in the next few years. Mikheyev added: "I am against the forced extension of the Eurasian Union, because the situation is complicated in Kyrgyzstan, in Tajikistan is even harder. We must take into account the drug traffic, which passes through these two countries and that no border will stop it."

According to him, it is hardly worth waiting for Ukraine to enter in the Eurasian Union in the coming years. "Yes, Ukraine intends to continue to sit on two chairs and receive a dividend on the confrontation between Russia and Europe," he concluded.
New Europe